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I've had 3 different AP speakers in my house - the original Virgo 2s (I believe the model reviewed by Michael Fremer), after that the Audio Physic Libra, and a few years ago the Audio Physic Scorpios.
I have always loved AP speakers and still do. (Just listened to the newest Avanti recently and they are fantastic).
I first heard the Virgo 2s in a variety of places and they were the first speaker I'd encountered that did both tremendous detail, incredible soundstaging with a sense of warm, organic tone. At least back then, that was very, very rare, and an incredibly seductive combination.
Like a number of people, I think the Virgo 2 had a somewhat goldilocks like "magical" tone that was lost in the later versions. Part of it probably had to do with the fact Joachim Gerhard didn't design the subsequent versions of the Virgos. Another contributor I always thought the move to the ring-radiator tweeter in the later versions from the original aluminum dome tweeter actually didn't help. There was something about the original which had this combination of organic paper-cone midrange with just a bit of "golden shine" on top that made for a mesmerizing tone on the Virgo 2. (Especially when paired with a nice tube amp - I used Conrad Johnson). It lost that magic in the subsequent Virgos IMO.
I didn't keep the Virgos because I could never quite totally listen around a mid-bass warmth, a slight burr, that I could never get rid of (and which I heard in stores as well). Other owners don't seem to mind it, or maybe got rid of it (Fremer says he never quite got rid of it, but didn't mind it).
The follow up Audio Physic Libra finally got rid of it - it went lower, with more punch, power and pitch control. It didn't have *quite* that last drop of magic the virgo 2 had in the midrange/highs, but still retained that Audio Physic warm woody tone. Loved it when I had it.
The Scorpios are a terrific AP speaker if you see one for sale as well. They are punchier, more linear and richer sounding than the older AP speakers. Though also just a bit more darker toned to my ears - "brown" vs "blonde" in sonic color, to my ears.
Anyway, it's been a long time since I had the virgos but those were my impressions. I'd think they would still be worth a try. When a speaker is a classic, like the virgo 2, there's usually a reason.
Nice summary, prof.
You and I are of the same mind on the Joachim Gerhard magic. I think his AP designs remain at least as good as most of what's come down the pike since. At the normal $1500 asking price, the Virgos are an obvious answer for anyone with high-end taste that will not or can not spend today's prices.
As for me, I love the imaging and overall sound. They also still look great. Only reservation is that they can sound a bit hot or difficult to live with in 1) certain rooms or 2) paired with some ancillaries.
Also want to mention to its little brother, the AP Tempo, as possessing incredible sound at an even lower price.
I had a pair of Virgos in my room years ago for an audio club meeting. While the bass was a little problematical in my room (purely a room interaction that made it a little too warm), they did have that magic the others above are talking about. As far as pricing, I'd look at it this way--what could you get new for the $1500 price of the Virgos? I'd dare say that they'd be an absolute bargain at that price, if in good condition.
Thank you to all who have responded so far. Your comments and insights have been very helpful. I want to offer special thanks to member "Prof" for an excellent review of the early Virgo models, including the Libra.
To rcprince, your comment makes good sense. Unfortunately, the almost mint pair of the Virgo 2's I mentioned are in a tech shop in upstate New York, and I live in Los Angeles.
The seller prefers a local sale because he does NOT HAVE THE ORIGINAL CARTONS. Bummer! He seems honest, and would ship, if I could arrange packing and shipping and pay for both.
This gives me some pause and anxiety about such a transaction, because of potential transit damage. I don't trust FED_EX to packing or cartons. If he would be willing to accept $1300 for the speakers including shipping. I might go for it, but I get the impression he does not to put the effort into it. So far he is on a second 30 day ad cycle.
Jim, the late Brooks Berdan was an Audio Physic dealer in the late 90’s-early 2000’s, and his wife Sheila runs the shop now. They get AP speakers back as trade-ins occasionally, so give her a call and ask her to let you know when they do. The shop (Brooks Berdan Ltd.) is in Monrovia, just east of Pasadena.
trelja, Thank you for the clarification. Did you ever audition or hear the Audio Physic Sitara 25. This is one of several speakers that AP upgraded for its anniversary year. Actually, a new model. I believe there was never an "original" Sitara There are few reviews on the model, but they were generally very positive about this model, I am curious how would they compare against the AP Tempo I
Again, thank you to all members who responded to this thread